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The green blockchain tech company Algorand has signed a sponsorship deal with FIFA, the world football governing body, to sponsor the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the Gulf nation of Qatar this upcoming winter. Although Qatar has banned crypto, the large sporting event will draw millions of spectators interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Algorand is an environmentally-friendly proof-of-stake blockchain founded in 2017 by MIT professor and Turing Award-winning cryptographer Silvio Micali. 

"From the beginning, Algorand has focused on building technology that promotes inclusivity, opportunity, and transparency for all,” said Silvio Micali. “This partnership with FIFA, the most globally recognized and distinguished organization in sports, will showcase the potential that the Algorand blockchain has to transform the way we all experience the world’s game.”

After the announcement, Algorand’s token price spiked 20%, reaching $0.72.

According to FIFA, the two companies are also creating a technical partnership to help FIFA develop a cryptocurrency strategy, including for marketing soccer-related NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. Algorand will also help FIFA develop a blockchain-supported wallet.

Algorand's sponsorship will also extend into the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

It is not clear yet how much the sponsorship deal is worth, but FIFA's total revenue target over its current four-year cycle, which will conclude in Qatar, is set at $7 billion. FIFA derives the majority of its revenue from sponsorship and licensing deals for television, marketing, and hospitality related to the World Cup.

The last time a new American sponsor joined was 2014, when Johnson & Johnson signed on for the World Cup in Brazil.

Extolling its "cutting-edge, sustainable and transparent" technology, a FIFA representative said this is the first time a blockchain company has sponsored the World Cup: "Algorand is clearly a forward-looking, innovative partner that can help us achieve these goals," said FIFA Chief Business Officer Romy Gai.